“Messiah is all about community. It’s who we are.”
As president of the newly minted Messiah University, Kim Phipps upholds this firm reminder of the importance of community in the university’s sphere.
Since announcing the university’s reopening in August, Messiah’s employees have worked to plan and establish various strategies to ensure the community can gather safely for the fall semester.
The strategies the university plans on implementing seek to lessen the risk of COVID-19 on campus. Within these outlines, the student body itself is held accountable for aiding to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
For further information, see “The Bridge to Reopen Messiah” website.
On Messiah’s campus, the Engle Center is “coordinating the University’s COVID-19 screening, testing, quarantine/isolation, contact tracing and medical care protocols – including serving as the liaison with government and health care authorities.”
The university has promised testing for those with symptoms. They will also conduct contact tracing and make isolation accommodations for those with positive results.
As a preventative measure, students are required to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus. Then, after an altered arrival, students will be required to wear masks and social distance throughout campus.
In addition, “everyone must report their temperature and wellness each day, and commit to staying home when not well.” These daily wellness checks will be monitored and tracked by the “Falcon Health Check-In,” a new, web-based app.
Students still have the option to return to campus or to utilize the remote learning technology. The university urges those with health risks to consider the latter.
With these changes, students can expect to see differences in the classroom, residence halls and dining locations.
For on-campus students, classrooms will be altered to accommodate social distancing rules. To further abide by these rules, “some classroom assignments may be changed from typical locations while other courses will employ a staggered model of rotating the days when students attend face-to-face and the days when students attend remotely throughout the week.”
Between classes, professors and students will have access to cleaning supplies for the desks and chairs.
Messiah has prepared their faculty for “delivering courses face-to-face using modified spaces as well as leveraging technology tools and investments to make the in-person classroom accessible to remote students.”
On-campus living also requires some changes. Each dorm floor will operate as their own “extended family” in order to lessen the spread of the virus. Students will be required to wear masks on their dorm floors for the first two weeks of classes.
For the duration of the in-person semester, students will each be assigned bathroom stalls, showers and sinks that they are required to disinfect after every use. In the common areas, social distancing, masks and disinfecting protocols will also be required.
Dining on campus will be changed to accommodate social distancing. Lottie will offer to-go, no touch or minimal touch services, and all of the dining locations will implement greater cleaning protocols.
These changes may seem difficult. Yet, the university reminds its students of the necessity to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” especially in these uncertain times.